Congress gives FCC go-ahead to conduct spectrum auctions

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Congress today (Feb. 17) approved legislation providing the FCC with the ability to reclaim and auction broadcast spectrum to help pay for a payroll tax break and unemployment benefits, according to Broadcasting & Cable. The House passed the bill 293 to 132; the Senate, 60-36. House Communications Chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said auctions will be voluntary and protect broadcasters and their viewers. “Bill language requires the FCC to make best efforts to protect the coverage areas and interference protections of the broadcasters who don’t give up spectrum,” B&C said. Auctions are still several years off; the legislation sets a 10-year deadline.

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